The news comes as over 100 schools and colleges have been told to close or partially shut by the Department for Education (DfE) due to RAAC concrete, only days before thousands of pupils were due to return for the new school year.
Speaking on Sky News’ politics show Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the chancellor explained “new information” could arise as the government carries out its “exhaustive” programme into the issue.
He said: “Obviously we might find new information in the weeks or months ahead and we will act on it, but in terms of the information we have today we have acted immediately, we will continue to act we will continue to invest.”
“We will prioritise spending money to sort out these problems.”
📺 Sky 501 pic.twitter.com/VDNNI75BWw
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 3, 2023
The government has been investigating “settings” that could have dangerous structural elements such as “crumbling concrete.”
What is RAAC concrete?
Also known as reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), the building material is a lightweight form of concrete.
The Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) has noted that: “Although called ‘concrete’, (RAAC) is very different from traditional concrete and, because of the way in which it was made, much weaker.
“RAAC was used in schools, colleges and other building construction from the 1950s until the mid-1990s.
“It may therefore be found in any school and college building (educational and ancillary) that was either built or modified in this time period.”
Today we’ve published new guidance for education settings impacted by Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).
Here’s everything you need to know about RAAC and how we’re supporting schools and colleges to manage it safely ⬇️https://t.co/3ZaKz89MtK
— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) August 31, 2023
Jeremy Hunt says the government are doing ‘everything they can’ to keep pupils safe in school
Commenting on the RAAC safety fears in schools, he continued to say on Sky News: “As soon as problems have been identified we’ve started a huge survey of every single school in the country so we could identify where these problems are.
“And I think it’s very important to reassure parents that where there is an issue as soon as we find out about it we will act.”
The chancellor added the government is doing “everything they can” to make sure children are safe in school.
He added: “We can absolutely promise we will take action immediately when we know there is any kind of risk but also more broadly, in terms of my decisions as chancellor, that we will prioritise spending money to sort out these problems where that needs to happen.”
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